He shall not be afraid of evil tidings . Confident in God's goodness to wards him, he will not anticipate misfortunes. They may come, as even the best man is not exempt from them; but he will not meet them half-way. His heart is fixed ; i . e . firmly established (see Psalms 112:8 )—settled on a sure basis— trusting in the Lord —the one basis that is solid and immovable.
The promise of piety.
In Bacon's celebrated saying that "prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament, but adversity of the New," there is a measure of truth; but it is far from covering all the ground. We may set against it the apostolic declaration that" godliness hath the promise of the life that now is." And though we may not press the sentences of this psalm to any nice exactitude, yet it is substantially as true of the good man, and as applicable to his life on earth now, as it was at the hour when it was written. Piety, a reverence for God which shows itself in ready obedience to his will, has these solid advantages: it ensures—
I. THE BLESSEDNESS OF HOLY SERVICE . ( Psalms 112:1 .) The man who fears God "delights greatly in his commandments." Others may be tasting the bitter fruits of self-will, may be reaping the sad consequences of disobedience, but his heart is filled with the peace and with the joy of holy service. He finds a pure, elevating, lasting happiness in doing everything unto God his Savior, even in bearing his will. Languor and dissatisfaction are banished from the life of devotion, and in their place are serenity of spirit and gladness of heart. "I delight to do thy will, O my God." For us to live is Christ—to be engaged every hour in his blessed service.
II. THE EFFICIENT TRAINING OF THE YOUNG ( Psalms 112:2 ), and all which that includes. Not from the home of the holy do there go forth sons and daughters unprincipled, vicious, mischievous, short-lived. Taught God's truth and trained in Christian principles, young men and women leave the home of the godly prepared for the battle of life. It is they who are most ready for serious duties, for responsible positions, for offices of trust; it is they who are most likely to rise to power and to honor. Exceptions being excepted, it is distinctly true that "the generation of the upright are blessed." Even from a temporal standpoint, it is a very great advantage for any son or daughter to be trained in a Christian home.
III. WORK THAT WILL LAST FOR LIFE . ( Psalms 112:3 .) If the upright man does not obtain "wealth and riches"—though the virtues which are the fruit of piety are the root of much material success—he has the far more precious wealth of moral and spiritual worth, and "his righteousness endureth." It is not a brief flash that goes oat and is lost; it is a steady light that shines through all his days. He has the favor of God, the esteem of his neighbors, actual intrinsic goodness, for his possession. And of this no accident or misfortune can rob him.
IV. DELIVERANCE IN THE DARK HOUR . ( Psalms 112:4 .) He does not expect to go through life without his share of trial. If he were wise he would not choose such a dubious exemption (see Hebrews 12:5-11 ). But he knows he will not. "Many are the afflictions" even "of the righteous," and they will surely come to his door. He, too, will know something of "the power of darkness." But to him there will "arise light."
1. Present deliverance will come. He will patiently and devoutly pursue his course of integrity and of waiting upon God, and God will give him his heart's desire; his name will be cleared, his health restored, his property regained, his friendship renewed, his work prospered.
2. Divine support will be so abundantly bestowed that his soul will be filled with peace even in the midst of his trouble (see 2 Corinthians 12:10 ).
3. After bearing the burden of earthly trial, and passing through a long night of temporal adversity, there will gleam the bright light of the heavenly home.
V. THE BLESSING OF ENDURING GRATITUDE . ( Psalms 1:6 , 9.) He is gracious, com passionate, generous, full of practical kindness, just to others (guiding his affairs with a due regard to what is owing to other men); the result will be that he will earn the esteem and the thanks of many hearts, and he will live long in their grateful remembrance. The unholy and consequently self-centered man passes through life without awakening any affection or evoking any appreciation,—he is disregarded, perhaps denounced; men either forget or disparage him when he is dead; but the holy and unselfish man lives in the love of his fellows, and when he dies leaves a fragrant memory behind him.
VI. DEVOUT CONFIDENCE IN FACE OF THE FUTURE . ( Psalms 112:8 .) Unaccompanied, undefended, by a heavenly Friend, we may well fear as we look before us. Who can tell what the next turn in the road will reveal to us? Who can say what losses and disappointments await us? Who can count on continued health or prosperity? Who can be assured against calamity or sudden death? But the Christian man, who is well assured that all events are in the hand of God, that the life and death of his saints are precious in his sight, that all things work together for good to them that love God, that in the saddest sorrows there may be disguised the truest love and the greatest blessing, that death itself is but the somber gateway of eternal glory,—he need not fear. His heart is established; he will not be afraid. All will be well with him; everything will conduce to spiritual good and to a lasting heritage.
The blessed life.
This psalm, like the previous one, begins with "Hallelujah," and is also an alphabetical psalm. That one gave glad thanks because of what the Lord God himself, in his ways and works, was declared to be. Now this one gives like thanks for what, by the grace of God, his servant is enabled to become. "The one sets forth God, his work and his attributes; the other tells us what are the work and character of those who fear God." So that the same affirmations are made both of God and of his servant (see Psalms 111:3 ; Psalms 112:3 ; also Psalms 111:4 and Psalms 112:4 ). In Psalms 111:1-10 . God's faithfulness is celebrated; in this, man's faithfulness. The whole psalm is a continued reiteration of the blessedness of God's service. But—
I. AFTER THE MANNER OF THE OLD TESTAMENT , THAT BLESSEDNESS IS TOLD OF AS BEING SHOWN IN PRESENT EARTHLY AND TEMPORAL REWARD . The seed of God's servant is to become both mighty and blessed. Health should be his, and, yet more, righteousness. Mercy shall go forth from God to him, and from him to his fellow men. He encourages those who need a helping hand, showing favor and lending; and his enemies, for he will have enemies, he will overcome in the judgment. He shall be long and lovingly remembered, and his trust in God shall deliver him from all fear. His enemies he shall meet in the might of confident faith, and see his desire upon them. Be is generous to the poor; he maintains his righteousness and rises to great honor. The ungodly see this with rage and vexation, and perish in his sight. Such was the form which God's recompenses to his faithful people took in the days of old.
II. BUT EVER SINCE THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST HAS BEEN PUBLISHED , THE BLESSED NESS OF GOD 'S SERVICE IS NOT LESS , BUT IT COMES IN A FAR DIFFERENT MANNER . For serving God may mean, and has meant to myriads, the loss, not the gain, of all earthly good (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:19 ). So that if we had no other than earthly good to hope for, we should be miserable indeed. But we have. Take the suggestions of this psalm, referring them to that form of blessing which the servant of God realizes now.
1. His seed shall be mighty and blessed . Is it not so? Are not the most effectual influences which are now bearing on men those which stream forth from the Church of God? Slow, no doubt, is their operation, but ever sure and increasing. And as to being blessed—ask the faithful themselves.
2. Spiritual wealth is his . The treasure store of Christ is opened to him, and his part therein is seen in the maintenance of holy character and standing before God and man.
3. The consolations of the Lord are his, and they make him a son of consolation likewise ( 2 Corinthians 1:4 ).
4. He is endued with kindly dispositions, and his fair fame his enemies cannot traduce (cf. Revised Version, Psalms 111:5 ).
5. He abides in the love of God, and when he departs hence his memory is sacred and perpetual.
6. He is kept in perfect peace . ( Psalms 111:7 .) He shall be kept trusting in God, and shall see his soul's enemies destroyed.
7. Selfishness is not in him, but a generous loving heart, for which all men bless him ( Psalms 111:9 ).
8. His life convicts the wicked man of his miserable folly, and robs him of all power to do him harm ( Psalms 111:10 ). Is not all this the blessed life?—S.C.
Not afraid of evil tidings.
I. MOST PEOPLE ARE . The postman's knock, much more a telegram, will often set their hearts palpitating. They realize how precarious is the tenure by which they hold their good things; they have many times had experience of the instability of that in which they have most trusted; and hence they are afraid, etc.
II. BUT OF THE SERVANT OF GOD IT IS SAID , " HE SHALL NOT BE AFRAID OF EVIL TIDINGS ."
1. As a fact, real religion does ensure this . See Daniel, when he knew the decree was signed ( Daniel 6:10 ). See Paul's letters in his imprisonment. See Nehemiah, etc.
2. It does not mean that evil tidings do not come to them as to others . They do, and often of a disastrous sort, affecting them in body, mind, and estate.
3. Nor does it mean that such tidings have no effect upon them . They do, saddening and distressing them much. Jesus wept.
4. But they are not afraid of them . They do not recognize such things as having power to touch them where their real treasure is, or as having any power in themselves at all; they are but God's ministers, and the ultimate issue of them cannot but be good. And those foreboding fears which so often precede them, God's servants are delivered from; for they believe the words, "As thy day so shall thy strength be."
III. THE SECRET OF THIS BLESSED FEARLESSNESS . It is plainly pointed out in our text.
1. " His heart is fixed ;" that is, he has come to a settled conviction as to his relation to God, and as to God's mind to him. He is as certain of God's good will and all-sufficient power and grace as a dear child is of his mother's love. His feet are on a rock; he has come to be fixed in heart as to the Lord's leading him in the right way. He does not merely think it, he is fully persuaded of it, he knows in whom he has believed ( Isaiah 26:3 ).
2. This fixedness of heart, which is so blessed, is the result of habitual trust . "Trusting in the Lord." We can form habits of trust, as of any other act of the mind. It is not a single act of faith, or a spasmodic intermittent trust, which will ensure this fixedness of heart. Built must be perpetually repeated until the habit is formed. We must put our will into it, and we must abandon everything which would render such trust impossible, as all allowed sin will and must.—S.C.
Trust-triumph over fears.
"He will not be afraid of any evil tidings; for his heart standeth fast, and believeth in the Lord." The good man of this psalm is evidently also a rich man, and a man in high position, who can exert a wide influence. Such men are more especially exposed to the influence of evil tidings. Illustrate by the case of Job, to whom the messengers of evil came one after another. Or give cases of merchants whose whole fortune is embarked in some ship, and who receive tidings of its loss. Explain how sensitive the Stock Exchange is to the slightest rumor of evil. They who have nothing to lose are not affected by news of calamities, save in the way of sympathy. But the psalmist points out that the godly man is freed from undue fear concerning his earthly possessions, because he has a heavenly treasure which is in every way more precious to him, and concerning the safety of that treasure he need never have a fear.
I. EVIL TIDINGS MAY DISTRESS THE GODLY MAN . Piety never either changes or deadens natural feeling. It would be true to say that it even made natural feeling more keen and sensitive. Loss of money, place, influence, and health do distress pious men; and the triumph they may gain over themselves should never be allowed to deceive us. Their victory is seldom, if ever, an easy one.
II. EVIL TIDINGS CANNOT OVERWHELM THE GODLY MAN . Because he never stakes his all on any venture. Come what may, he has a reserve, and an abundantly satisfactory reserve. "Moth and rust may corrupt, thieves may break through and steal," but they never yet found the godly man's "heavenly treasure." It is not only that, take everything away, and he still has God. It is that, in having God, he potentially has everything; what he has lost is restored, if that is best; but certainly he has the "supply of all his needs."
III. EVIL TIDINGS DRIVE THE GODLY MAN CLOSER TO GOD . He has learned the lesson of trust; and he is sure to practice it in the time of need. His heart is fixed. Trouble does not make it waver, but binds it closer, fixes it firmer. Just as the little child sits close by father in the train, but presses closer when the train rushes into the dark tunnel. "His heart being fixed in solid reliance upon God, a change in his circumstances but slightly affects him. He can be patient, waiting for the salvation of God."—R.T.
The blessedness of the eminently good.
"That delighteth greatly in his commandments."
I. HIS CHILDREN SHALL BE BLESSED . ( Psalms 112:2 .) "Mighty" in a warlike sense here.
II. SHALL PROSPER IN OUTWARD CIRCUMSTANCES . ( Psalms 112:3 .) "Godliness is profit able unto all things," etc.
III. SHALL ENJOY THE LIGHT OF GOD 'S PRESENCE , AND OF Ills OWN COMPASSIONATE DEEDS IN TIMES OF ADVERSITY . ( Psalms 112:4 , Psalms 112:5 .) "Gracious, full of compassion and righteous;" these attributes will irradiate his darkest hours.
IV. BRING RIGHTEOUS , HE IS IMMOVABLY GROUNDED IN GOD . (Verse 61) Fixed in his trust and hope, and in all the principles of his character.
V. HAVING A CLEAR CONSCIENCE , HE IS RAISED ABOVE ALL FEAR . ( Psalms 112:7 , Psalms 112:8 .) Delivered from the terrors that beset the guilty.
VI. HAVING AN INNER RIGHTEOUSNESS , HE ENJOYS THE HIGHEST HONOR FROM GOD AND MAN . ( Psalms 112:9 .)—S.